High-speed pursuit called off after dangerous driving

by Sequim Gazette staff

Local law enforcement agencies spent just over half an hour in a high-speed pursuit of a stolen vehicle Thursday, March 31, before calling it off due to public safety concerns.


Officers of the Lower Elwha Tribal Police saw a car matching the description of a stolen vehicle traveling from Ranger Road to Place Road west of Port Angeles around 6:53 p.m., according to a news release from the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office.


The vehicle was reported stolen east of Port Angeles after the owner left it unlocked with the keys in the ignition.


After confirming the car was the stolen vehicle, officers followed it until Clallam County Sheriff’s deputies could catch up and conduct a high-risk traffic stop since the car had left the tribe’s jurisdiction.


While the driver of the car was traveling at a safe speed west on Highway 112 then south on Joyce-Piedmont Road, deputies on the west end of Clallam County, troopers from the Washington State Patrol, agents of the United States Border Patrol and officers of the Port Angeles Police Department were notified and took up positions to react if the driver attempted to escape on foot or in the car.


As law enforcement officers were getting into position around 7:12 p.m., the driver accelerated to speeds of 75 mph while passing the East Beach area of Lake Crescent. Officers pursued the suspect, who turned the car east onto U.S. Highway 101 and started driving toward Port Angeles at speeds around 100 mph.

Port Angeles Police officers shut down westbound traffic just outside the west city limits and placed a tire deflation device, which the suspect was able to avoid.


The suspect turned north on Bean Road, east on Lauridsen Boulevard, south on the Tumwater Truck Route, south on Cedar Street, then went east on Highway 101 via Pine Street. From there the suspect drove east on Lauridsen Boulevard toward Peninsula College and north across First and Front streets.


The suspect’s driving became more erratic and at 7:31 p.m. supervisors from the involved agencies terminated the pursuit in the interest of public safety.


After the pursuit was called off, several law enforcement officers took up positions outside the city limits and worked their way back into town, looking for the suspect. The stolen vehicle was found abandoned a short time later by Border Patrol agents in an alley near the intersection of 10th and Francis streets.


Deputies processed the car for evidence while Border Patrol agents patrolled the area looking for evidence and witnesses.


The suspect has not been found.


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